Reports yesterday from a very forthright press conference by Richard Cockerill have Sam Hidalgo-Clyne, Cornell du Preez, Jason Tovey and Duncan Weir all headed for the exit from Edinburgh at the end of the season.
According to the reports (best one is on The Offside Line), Hidalgo-Clyne is leaving after a failure to agree terms with the club, which leaves them a little short on quality 9s. Discussions are mentioned with a NZ based scrum-half. Could this be Finlay Christie, or have the exiles programme unearthed someone else? We know how key half-backs are to the national team’s plans so to have 50% of the available slots for standoffs and possibly some of the scrum half positions also tied up by non Scots would be a sticky problem for the national coach. That, of course, is possibly a new problem for Cockerill and one he may see as not entirely his.
Tovey and Weir are sad but unsurprising given Tovey’s contract is up at the end of the season and the amount of recruiting Cockerill did late last year in that area. Weir has been recalled from loan to Worcester for this weekend’s game with Ulster but is expected to see out the season down there under Alan Solomons (who signed him for Edinburgh), presumably with an eye on a long-term deal.
Cornell du Preez is the only forward on the list (so far) and whether there is a replacement lined up is unclear. Luke Hamilton would be an ideal candidate but with Luke Crosbie, Jamie Ritchie and Magnus Bradbury they are already well served in that area. If they get all their props fit they might be over-provisioned there too (Jordan Lay will be leaving at season’s end too).
He also didn’t deny that Matt Scott might be returning next season, but nor did he confirm it. He suggests the makeup of his squad is 99% complete but that this is just the first year in a multi-year plan to build out the depth. With success will come increased budget so Edinburgh might be lean but higher quality next season and new players brought in as additions rather than replacements in the years to come.
Which areas do you think Edinburgh should recruit in next season and who would you target?
UPDATE: it was announced yesterday that CdP will join Worcester, with Dave Denton leaving that club and rumoured to be headed to Leicester.